Wiggins speaks about aim to win Tour de France with Team Sky
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wiggins speaks about aim to win Tour de France with Team Sky

by Conal Andrews at 10:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

He finished 124th in 2006, was fourth this year, and now hopes to continue that steep upwards trajectory in the Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins was today confirmed as leading Team Sky’s bid to secure a British Tour winner within the next five years.

“Who knows?” said Wiggins, when asked by reporters if he could reach the top step of the podium in Paris. “It is certainly not impossible, and I think I realised that this year. Twelve months ago, nobody would have given me a look-in to finish in the first 100, let alone in the first five. So why not move up a bit more?

“It is not going to be easy, but I think if we are going to do it, we will certainly do it as a team. You can’t win the Tour de France alone; Armstrong and Contador had a really strong team last year and were the strongest team in the race. If we can be that next year, anything is possible. Contador is the man to beat at the moment, and we will be doing everything possible to get as close to him as we can. It’s exciting.”

The confirmation that Wiggins was moving to the team followed months of speculation and rumour. He still had a year left with the Garmin Transitions squad but intense behind-the-scenes negotiations finally resulted in confirmation that he would move.

Wiggins has won three Olympic medals and several world championships with British cycling, and many of the same people are involved in the Team Sky project. For that reason, he agrees that it’s something of a homecoming for him.

“All my Olympic success over the last three Olympics has been with the team of people who are going to be based here,” he said. “It is like coming home. The team that have working on all the different projects and things in the velodrome there [at British Cycling’s base in Manchester], are behind Team Sky. That’s right down to the logistics - the guys who are going to be arranging the flights for us to travel to races are all people I have worked with for the last twelve years.

“It is like coming home, and I just can’t wait to get into the new season.”


Seeking perfection:

British Cycling has earned a reputation for having a meticulous approach to things, and the Team Sky project is expected to be the same. Feedback from the first team get-together was very positive, with several riders stating that the set up was the best they had seen during their time in cycling.

The aim now is to continue to build on that, get the season off to a strong start in the Tour Down Under, then hone form, organisation and tactics

Team Principal Dave Brailsford explained how they will approach the bid to win the Tour.

“Our philosophy has always been about everybody trying to support the riders to be the best they can be,” he said at today’s press conference. “If their best is good enough to win the Tour de France, that is fantastic. It is a dream. We will work around targets, we will work around things that we can control.

“Certainly from a backroom staff point of view, we will all be there, supporting him, looking at ways that we can improve and help Brad’s performance and that of every other riders. The aim is to help them to be the best they can be.

“My personal opinion is the best Brad Wiggins can be is very close to the top of the Tour de France podium, so it's very exciting.”

Road racing is very different to track but Wiggins has seen British Cycling evolve and grow, and knows that many of the same principles will be applied to the Team Sky campaign.

"Everyone knows where the track team has gone to from ten years ago,” he said. “It was pretty much a team that used to pack our own bikes and go to world championships. Back in Atlanta [1996 Olympics], the riders were almost paying for themselves, but it has gone on to becoming the most dominant force in track cycling.

“Now they are taking that philosophy and the infrastructure and the way they went about doing that onto the road and trying to conquer the pro cycling stage. This team wants to be the biggest and the best and the most admired team in the world.

“It is the first British ProTour team and to be part of that from the start is going to be something quite special. I am just looking forward to putting 2009 behind us now in the history books, and getting on with next year.”

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